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Green’s career night lifts Lady Commodores past Chipola

By DUSTIN KENT 
News Herald Assistant Sports Editor 
Posted Feb 7, 2018 at 8:53 PM

 

PANAMA CITY — The only Panhandle Conference team able to tame No. 2 Gulf Coast through the first round of league play was Chipola, which knocked off the Lady Commodores 64-60 Jan. 20 in Marianna. The two clubs faced off again in the final game of the second round of the Panhandle schedule, though it would be hard for anyone who saw the first matchup to recognize the teams on the court Wednesday.

 

Gulf Coast destroyed Chipola 87-51 despite playing without second-leading scorer Kionna Jeter, thanks in large part to a career night from sophomore guard Janesha Green, who led all scorers with 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 from the 3-point line. Shayla Bennett added 23 points and six assists, with Jhileiya Dunlap had 20 points, eight rebounds, and three blocked shots.

 

With the win, the Lady Commodores improved to 19-2 overall and 7-1 in the Panhandle Conference and moved a full game ahead of Northwest Florida State (6-2) at the top of the league standings. Chipola dropped to 13-10 overall and 2-6 in the conference.

 

Gulf Coast coach Roonie Scovel said that Jeter, the team’s second leading scorer, could be lost for the season due to an undisclosed “accident” unrelated to basketball. In Jeter’s stead stepped in Green, who came in averaging just 3.5 points per game this season on 25.3 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent from the 3-point line.

 

Those modest numbers aren’t for a lack of talent, Scovel said, but rather of belief. After Green’s effort Wednesday, that may no longer be an issue for the 5-foot-6 guard.

 

“She’s probably the best athlete on our team,” Scovel said. “For Janesha, it’s not about the skill. She can jump out of the gym and sprint down the court like a deer and do all the things we want her to do. It’s just a mental thing. She hasn’t had the confidence, so it was tremendous to watch her do that tonight. We’ve really been on her. She really struggled (in the first matchup against Chipola) with some turnovers and missed free throws, but tonight she was spot on and really outstanding. If she can do that down the stretch, then we can replace what we’ve lost.”

 

Green helped get Gulf Coast going early with eight first quarter points, as the Lady Commodores closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run to turn a two-point edge to a 21-7 lead. Green and Astou Gaye hit threes to start the surge, followed by two consecutive

baskets inside by Dunlap on feeds from Gaye and Shay Collins, and then another bucket in the paint by Dye on another nice pass from Gaye.

 

The Lady Commodores continued to have their way in the second quarter, with Bennett driving and dishing to Dye for two, hitting three free throws, and later adding a driving basket to put GC up 30-7 with 7:54 on the clock. A long two-point jumper by Lyric Turner ended a 10-minute scoring drought for the Lady Indians, but Gulf Coast followed that with eight straight points.

Gaye added two more assists, the first to Green on a backdoor cut for two, and the second on a high-low feed to Dunlap inside for two, with Green hitting a transition layup and Dunlap grabbing a steal and going coast to coast for a layup to make it 38-9 with 4:10 until halftime.

 

Chipola closed to 44-20 at halftime, but Gulf Coast started adding back on to the lead in the third quarter and quickly put to rest any notion of a rally. Bennett scored nine points in the third, with a 3-pointer, a three-point play, and another 3-pointer making it 55-28 with 5:01 on the clock. A pull-up jumper by Green followed by a steal and layup by Shay Collins gave the Lady Commodores a 59-28 edge with 3:20 on the third quarter clock.

 

Bennett stayed hot in the fourth quarter, finishing a driving layup, hitting a pair of free throws, and then a step-back 3-pointer before an offensive rebound and putback by Green gave GC a 71-40 advantage with 7:02 remaining.

 

It was a dominant performance at both ends for Gulf Coast, but it was the play of her team at the defensive end to start the game that Scovel said set the tone.

 

“The defensive effort in the first quarter was outstanding,” she said. “Our on-ball defense, stopping dribble penetration, it was just outstanding. I know (Chipola) has got a lot of injuries, but we had to play great defense and we did.”

 

Chipola was without three regulars due to injury. Endia Jones led the Lady Indians with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Valerie Nesbitt and Namiko Adams had eight points each.

 

Scovel said she was particularly impressed with how the Lady Commodores responded to learning they would be without Jeter so close to Wednesday’s game.

 

“We didn’t know what was going to happen tonight,” she said. “We said that somebody has got to step up and other people have to score more and I thought we did that. We had a new starting lineup tonight and they responded great. I thought the defense was better with the change and the transition offense was better.

 

“Certainly, we want Kionna back and hope we can get her back soon, but I thought the kids did a great job tonight. To lose somebody and have about 48 hours to figure it out, I thought our kids did a great job.”

 

Gulf Coast is back at home Saturday to take on Tallahassee.

 

CHIPOLA (51)

Sanders 3 1-1 7, Sule 2 1-1 6, Jones 5 0-0 10, Adams 3 2-2 8, Turner 2 0-0 5, Johnson 0 0-0 0, House 0 3-4 3, Gardner 2 0-0 4, Nesbitt 3 2-2 8. Totals: 20 9-10 51.

 

GULF COAST (87)

Collins 2 0-0 4, Bennett 6 8-9 23, Diane 1 0-0 2, Dunlap 10 0-0 20, Gaye 3 0-0 7, Green 9 3-4 24, Dye 2 0-0 4, Kincey 0 0-0 0, Johnson 1 0-0 3. Totals: 34 11-13 87.

 

Chipola 7 13 15 16 — 51

Gulf Coast 21 23 18 25 — 87

3-point field goals: Gulf Coast 8 (Bennett 3, Green 3, Gaye, Johnson), Chipola 2 (Sule, Turner). Total fouls: Chipola 16, Gulf Coast 16. Fouled out: Turner. Technical fouls: Chipola coach.


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